Cultures having a tradition of prestigious or authoritative texts must inevitably confront the problem of literary and legal innovation. Ancient Israel's development of the idea of divine revelation of law creates a cluster of constraints that one would expect to impede legal revision or amendment. As a test-case, the article examines the doctrine of transgenerational punishment: the notion that God punishes sinners vicariously and extends the punishment due them to three or four generations of their progeny. A series of inner-biblical and post-biblical responses to the rule demonstrates, however, that later writers were able to criticize, reject, and replace it with the alternative notion of individual retribution. Thus it was the formative canon itself which fostered critical reflection on the textual tradition and resulted in intellectual freedom.
|Translated title of the contribution||"You shall not add and take anything" (Dtn 13:1): Legal reform and hermeneutic in the Hebrew Bible|
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||Zeitschrift fur Theologie und Kirche|
|State||Published - 2006|